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  #1  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:27 PM
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Holy Misrepresentation Batman!

I had a rear wheel bearing go out on me this week while I was in Portland. I took the car to MBI Motors because I have heard good things about them on this site and some of the few records I got with the car indicated it had been there before. I'm very impressed with their work - They got the rear wheel bearing and rear brakes done on short notice the day I brought it in. So, the title does NOT refer to MBI.

When I mentioned the car had been there before, they asked if I wanted the service records. It didn't take long to answer that question and my suspicions were verified.

The last service they did was in 2006 and the mileage read 378,186. It was sold to the guy I bought it from in 2006 and driven until October of 2009 when I bought it and the odometer read 224,750. Hmmmm.

The other thing I found out though is that the short block was replaced and the head was overhauled to the tune of $10,887 in 1999. That's the good part.

Next up is a front end rebuild (Just got the parts-Thanks Phil) and motor mounts.

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  #2  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:35 PM
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Yikes! Well thats not a good thing to find out. When you registered the car they didn't give you any flak at the DMV for having inconsistent mileage? I know in my state that they check for odometer consistency - if you are registering the car for less than the miles last indicated at inspection/registration renewal, you can prosecute the previous owner for inaccurately representing the mileage. In the back of many titles (transfer section) there are check boxes that acknowledge that the mileage is not actual and/or has been reset. See if you have the designation on your title and just missed it on the sale (there is usually a letter in the odometer box, ours is A for actual, another letter for other).
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:38 PM
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Also, you might have a court case off of this. I am dealing with a similar situation with my 300E--hardest part is proving that the previous owner intentionally misrepresented the sale, otherwise there is no case.
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:38 PM
general nuisance
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaggerLee View Post
I had a rear wheel bearing go out on me this week while I was in Portland. I took the car to MBI Motors because I have heard good things about them on this site and some of the few records I got with the car indicated it had been there before. I'm very impressed with their work - They got the rear wheel bearing and rear brakes done on short notice the day I brought it in. So, the title does NOT refer to MBI.

When I mentioned the car had been there before, they asked if I wanted the service records. It didn't take long to answer that question and my suspicions were verified.

The last service they did was in 2006 and the mileage read 378,186. It was sold to the guy I bought it from in 2006 and driven until October of 2009 when I bought it and the odometer read 224,750. Hmmmm.

The other thing I found out though is that the short block was replaced and the head was overhauled to the tune of $10,887 in 1999. That's the good part.

Next up is a front end rebuild (Just got the parts-Thanks Phil) and motor mounts.
It's nice that you got those service records, it makes for a good read I think, fills in a lot of unknowns.

As for the odo discrepancy it's your own choice but there are laws protecting against such non-disclosures, at least in my state there are. I'm not sure if it's federal law or not but you can find out.

My W140 came to me with an assumed 145k miles in 2008 but later, after a visit with the MB dealer and printing of the complete service history by MB I found that the car had 177k when it was last serviced by MB in 2005. Now there was only one owner between that period of time and me so blame for this can be squarely placed on that person, or rather on their son-in-law since I believe he did a lot of the driving and handled the service work for the car.

Doesn't mean I love the car any less, but lying like this really frosts my pumpkin.

steve a
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:40 PM
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So what do you think the actual miles are? 450,000?

Time to apply for another grill badge
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2011, 03:28 PM
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I expect that this is much more common than most of us want to know.

Average mileage in the US is considered to be 12,000/year (low) to 15,000/year (more common). Unless the car is a garage queen, lets say a nice exotic car or seasonal vehicle, this pretty much applies.

Now diesel folks, mostly bought diesels because they got good mileage and were durable, and the buyers planned to drive them more than average.

So your average '85 300D should have around 390,000 miles on it. Many have more, some have less. However, look at the mileage on the cars you see on ebay, craigslist, this site, ... all seem to be closer to 250k. Odd?

In most states, a car this old (even a '90s car) is "mileage exempt". This means that the mileage exempt box is checked on the title, and no representation of miles is necessary. Unless: The vehicle was represented with less miles; The seller knew of the higher miles; and You can prove both of these, you might as well move on.

I have an '87 that shows somewhere around 205,000 miles. I don't know whether to believe it, but the mileage is secondary to the wear on the car which is caused by many factors other than total miles. If the interior looks worn, engine is loose and smokey, steering and heating system worn out, ... you've got a worn-out car. If everything is tight and nice, you've got an above average car, even if there are a million miles on the chassis because obviously everything that wore out or needed attention was repaired or replaced.

Kind of a touchy subject for me, since I drive fairly average miles, my '91 was about 120k miles when I sold it in '96 (and looked/drove like new), probably has 400k by now and an owner thinks it has 200k because the odometer stopped somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd owner.
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  #7  
Old 02-25-2011, 03:40 PM
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One interesting fact relating to these kinds of scams is that they can actually be pulled off using our 80's MB's. Very few other vehicles of that vintage could have 400k miles and be convincingly passed of as only having 200k.
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2011, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babymog View Post
I expect that this is much more common than most of us want to know.

Average mileage in the US is considered to be 12,000/year (low) to 15,000/year (more common). Unless the car is a garage queen, lets say a nice exotic car or seasonal vehicle, this pretty much applies.

Now diesel folks, mostly bought diesels because they got good mileage and were durable, and the buyers planned to drive them more than average.

So your average '85 300D should have around 390,000 miles on it. Many have more, some have less. However, look at the mileage on the cars you see on ebay, craigslist, this site, ... all seem to be closer to 250k. Odd?

In most states, a car this old (even a '90s car) is "mileage exempt". This means that the mileage exempt box is checked on the title, and no representation of miles is necessary. Unless: The vehicle was represented with less miles; The seller knew of the higher miles; and You can prove both of these, you might as well move on.

I have an '87 that shows somewhere around 205,000 miles. I don't know whether to believe it, but the mileage is secondary to the wear on the car which is caused by many factors other than total miles. If the interior looks worn, engine is loose and smokey, steering and heating system worn out, ... you've got a worn-out car. If everything is tight and nice, you've got an above average car, even if there are a million miles on the chassis because obviously everything that wore out or needed attention was repaired or replaced.

Kind of a touchy subject for me, since I drive fairly average miles, my '91 was about 120k miles when I sold it in '96 (and looked/drove like new), probably has 400k by now and an owner thinks it has 200k because the odometer stopped somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd owner.
Agreed, at this age condition matters more than anything. In the case of my 300E, I found after the fact that the odometer ticks about 50% speed for some reason (speedo is also off). However since the condition is very good it wasn't worth going after the guy who sold it for the mileage. If it has 170k, assuming it was ticking halfway its whole life, the condition is extraordinary. I suspect that would probably be the case with the OP as well, if it was not clear that it had over 200k than indicated, that is a good thing. Now on mine, Public VIN missing is something else altogether, which is my allusion to a court case above.
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  #9  
Old 02-25-2011, 03:50 PM
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Sellers play odometer games with vintage air-cooled volkswagen's too. They only had 5 digit odometers, so you see plenty of them on ebay being sold as "unbelievable low mileage!" "a true survivor!" and other BS like that. Yes, the numbers might read 35,000 miles, but it more likely means 235,000 or 335,000... if it's even the original odometer, which probably it isn't.

But yes, I would be irate if I bought a car where the PO failed to disclose a roll-back.
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2011, 04:09 PM
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Good info, I look at the mileage when I peruse ebay etc but never paid much attention to it. I know the 85 I am driving is correct ( got it from my Dad )
Had 188,000 now 202,000.
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2011, 04:19 PM
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The worst part for me was not finding that the odometer read less but getting the MVA (Motor Vehicle Admin) to give me a correct title.

I bought the car with 127,XXX on the clock. I'd already looked at the CarFax and the last three odometer readings were 85,XXX/118,XXX/163,XXX in that order. So after getting the guy to drop the price $1000 by convincing him that the hundred-thousand digit was stuck and that the car was actually 227,XXX I tried to get it titled in MD.

I applied for a title and noted that I wanted a title that said "Not Actual Mileage." Title came and it said nothing about the mileage being inaccurate.

So I returned to the MVA and explained that the mileage on the title was inaccurate and that the true mileage was unknown. The clerk asked why and I explained what the CarFax had read and that this odometer commonly broke. She went crazy trying to tell me that I couldn't drive around with a broken odometer and that I needed a new one. I told her the car was 26 years old and that I was not going to find a "new" odometer anywhere. To which she replied that she owned a 1970-something car and the odometer worked just fine.

Well, now I'm back to where I started, explaining that I need a title noting that the mileage is "Not Actual." But she's stuck on the fact that I can't drive around with a broken odometer. So I asked her if I could fix it, that I knew how to fix the gear. That set her off! She started telling me that the FBI would put me in prison for messing with my odometer and that I just needed to buy a new one.

So after I got her to calm down by telling her I wouldn't fix it myself I asked what I could do short of the impossibility of getting a "new" 26 year old odometer. To which she replied "well you can get a title correction that notes that you have 'Not Actual Mileage'"

After that remark I got the title corrected and was out the door in a matter of minutes.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2011, 04:49 PM
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So I asked her if I could fix it, that I knew how to fix the gear. That set her off! She started telling me that the FBI would put me in prison for messing with my odometer and that I just needed to buy a new one.
She really said this?? I would have laughed at her so hard, everyone there would be wondering what was so funny.

I used to live in MD. Their entire MVA, the bizarre and unusual state inspection laws, everything to do with cars in that state is just ack-basswards. I'm never moving back to MD.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:00 PM
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Exempt in Washington

Cars that old in Washington have an "odometer exempt" status so it's a free-for-all. I'm not going to pursue any legal action against the guy. I bought it from his friend who was selling it for his recent widow (motorcycle+drunk driver=widow):sad

For the most part, all of the major components have been replaced. The mileage on the engine I estimate around 120,000 plus whatever the guy I bought it from put on it in 2 years. (80k from replacement to sale, then 2 mystery years and the 40k Ive put on it since 10/09 (on the swapped out odometer).

Either way, its nice to know a little more about the car.

Oh, and there's nothing worse than a "frosted pumpkin"
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:18 PM
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As often as these odometers get switched, junkyard-swapped, broken for 1000 miles and then fixed again... I find it hard to believe that so many are ready to head to court over it.

Very often this happens so far back in the chain of owners that you have no idea.

Right now I've got 3 diesel MBs (only 3 I've ever owned) and all three of them have odometer inconsistencies.

The 300SDL shows 362,000 miles which I BELIEVE to be correct for the car body; however the engine was replaced, at 284,000 on the real odometer, with an engine that had "oh, about 160 or 180 thousand" on it. No records.

The 300SD odometer was replaced by the previous owner's non-MB-proficient mechanic with one that was within 10,000 of what the old one said --- but it isn't the same rear drive ratio so I have no idea what the true value is. I know that to go 65 in that car you have to make the speedometer say 68, but I have no idea how that transfers to the odometer if at all.

The 240D came to us with a speedometer/odometer that had ULTRA different paint color from the other gauges on the dash, and the speedometer didn't work. So it had quit working on the previous owner, and he replaced the instrument with one of a different reading and that didn't work either. We fixed it by replacing the cable, and it lasted all of about 200 miles before the gear in the transmission that turns the OTHER end of the cable came discombobulated, and we decided it was too much work to fix again at least for the time being. So I've driven that one probably 15,000 miles without any odometer movement, but it doesn't really matter since the odo isn't original to the car and we have no idea what the original should be.

Its all so old anyway, it makes little difference. I wish the 240D was counting SOMETHING just so I didn't have to rely on calendar months to figure out oil changes, but otherwise... it's sort of a shrug-and-move-on for me. These are all such high mileage by comparison to nearly every other car around that whether it's 300K or 400K matters very little.
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2011, 07:04 PM
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I agree, I'm more concerned that the odometer is currently working so that I can keep track of maintenance, than whether the miles are accurate.

Since I"ve replaced most of the suspension, steering, brakes, bearings, interior, motors, have a new engine/transmission/differential ready to swap in next week, I'm not sure that I or the next owner will car how many miles the body has traveled.

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